1. The Trump administration fully supports interim president Juan Guaidó. Guaidó defied an order by Maduro not to leave the country in order to meet with Pence and members of the LIMA group to formulate plans going forward. Pence expressed confidence that Mr. Guaidó will continue to push for a peaceful transition to his leadership and, eventually, legitimate elections in an effort to foster freedom in the once-thriving country.
2. Sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions: Maduro “must go.” How, you might ask? Well, more sanctions on oil companies, and encouraging more nations to recognize Mr. Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, while calling on nations supporting Maduro to rethink their positions (that’d be you, China, Russia, and Cuba). Pence also called on nations like Mexico to stand with “constitutionally-recognized” President Guaidó. He also urged:
“To the people of Venezuela: the American people stand with you, if you will stand for freedom.”
Translation: It’s clear that Pence is encouraging more Venezuelans to rise up against Maduro, who’s shown himself more than willing to turn his firepower against his own, unarmed people. (Note: Socialists like gun control; sound familiar?)
3. Why should Americans be concerned with the situation in Venezuela? Simple, asserted Pence: the threat of “narcoterrorism” spreading into the United States. What Pence didn’t mention: the spread of infectious diseases going untreated in a country where the promised “free” healthcare is virtually nonexistent. Again: Sound familiar?
4. People are starving and causing mass migration out of Venezuela. Pence promised that the Trump Administration will continue pressing to get crucial aid into the country, as well as continued economic pressure. Then, just as Pence was warning that any violence against Americans, interim president Guaidó, and innocent Venezuelans “will not be tolerated,” this news broke:
just talked to my dad. He is safe. He told me that 15 mins into his interview, Maduro stopped him & then forced him & his team into a dark room for 2.5 hours. He was then released without any of his belongings. https://t.co/VoHuESZUK1
— Paola Ramos (@paoramos) February 26, 2019
This is the video that upset the dictator @NicolasMaduro.@jorgeramosnews recorded it on his cell phone in the streets of Caracas. When he played it for Maduro during the interview the dictator got angry & detained him & his crew in a dark room for over 2 hours. https://t.co/SwM6AKCeX2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 26, 2019
Yes, those are Venezuelan citizens rummaging through a garbage truck in search of food.
(The journalist mentioned was Univision’s Jorge Ramos, an American citizen, and his crew. Nothing to see here; move along; it was all just an orchestrated ruse by the evil, American State Department, according to a Maduro yes-man. Wink wink, nod nod.)
When asked to explain what the consequences would be, Pence wouldn’t elaborate, but…
5. Everything is on the table.
President Trump “has made it clear that while we hope for a peaceful transition, we hope that the diplomatic and economic pressure and the voice of nations around the world will result in a peaceful transition. All options are on the table.”
All options. Does that include military intervention on behalf of the United States? It certainly sounds like it. That said, President Trump and his cabinet have displayed an unusual knack for diplomacy.